This Week at the NC General Assembly

Governor’s Budget Veto

On Sunday The Governor vetoed the state budget passed by the NC General Assembly. At this point, the NC Senate has enough majority votes to override a veto, and the NC House believes they also can override a veto if at least 4 of the 5 Democrats who voted for the budget also vote with the Republican majority to override.  The earliest that the House can take up the veto override is this Tuesday June 14.  As of Tuesday, the House has scheduled a vote for Wednesday June 15, but could take it up late Tuesday night.

Should the veto not be overridden, the Legislature would need to pass a continuing resolution to fund state government in the absence of a new budget for 2011-2013. It’s unclear if the Governor would have the authority to continue to operate state government without a resolution, and House and Senate Leaders expressed a reluctance to pass a resolution that would not include a significant cut to state government agencies, along the lines of the budget that they have already passed. No one wants to talk about government shutdown, but that is one of the possibilities should post-veto negotiations not go well and the Legislature adjourns without a budget or continuing resolution in place.  The Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC)continues to follow this issue and will keep you updated on what happens.

House Bill 344 Moves to Senate

Tax Credits for Children with Disabilities, H 344, passed the House last week and will be heard in the Senate this week. As we have posted in previous updates, give a $6,000 tax credit to families whose child with a disability attends a private school. To qualify for the credit, children must have been in a public school the previous two semesters, have an IEP and be receiving special education services on a daily basis.  The Senate Education Committee will hear the bill sometime on Monday afternoon from 4:30 to 6:00 PM in Room 643. If the committee gives it a favorable report it will be re-referred to Senate Appropriations.  Because this may be one of the last weeks the legislature is in session, we expect that H344 will move quickly through the Senate.  ASNC supports this legislation and will be closely monitoring the bill as it moves through the Senate.

As of Tuesday night  June 13th Senate Appropriations has given a favorable report to H 344 and re-referred it to Senate Finance which expects to hear it on Wednesday June 15th at 1PM in room 643.

Corporal Punishment Bill Update

The bill that would allow parents to opt out of corporal punishment in schools has been incorporated into Senate Bill 648 “Amend Law re: School Discipline”  a bill that clarifies school discipline and which was negotiated with child advocates and school groups. Because the Senate version and House version of Amend Law re: School Discipline are now different, the Senate version will need to go to the House for consideration. Since the House has passed its version of the school discipline bills (H736) and is taking up its version of the corporal punishment bill, it’s not clear which bill will be passed by the House.  ASNC will continue to monitor this issue and update you as we get more information.

Over the last two days, the corporal punishment language has been removed from the Senate bill Amend School Law re: Discipline. The House is now working to pass S 498 Modify Law Re Corporal Punishment which allows parents to opt out and makes practices uniform across schools. House Education gave it a favorable report on Tuesday June 14 and the bill may move to the House floor for a vote soon.

Since the law was passed last year banning corporal punishment for students with disabilities, additional local school districts have banned the use of corporal punishment. It is now being used in 17 of 115 school districts in the state.  ASNC appreciates the work on local advocates and parents who have raised this issue with school boards. Their work has helped to promote more positive behavioral supports and build support for ending physical punishment.

 

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